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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

SPM EST - How to Score EST? (Part 2 of 2)

Posted by Chong

English for Science and Technology (EST) was a new SPM subject introduced in year 2003 by Malaysian Education Ministry. It is an English test based on science and technology. So, why EST was introduced? I did a quick search using Google and found out the answer.
EST aims to
- provide learners with the language basis to access and understand materials on science and technology in English.
- express ideas and concepts in English.
Source: Good English Essays

For most of the SPM candidates, EST is really an 'Easy & Simple Test'. Many students do well in EST and it is not uncommon for an English 4B student to score 1A in school's EST examination. Why? Look at the EST format.
Paper 1 consists of Information Transfer and Scientific Writing. Paper 2 consists of 30 objective questions.
Source: Good English Essays

Information Transfer and Scientific Writing are both quite difficult for average students. However, I do think that they are easier than English 1119 Summary and Directed Writing respectively. So, do you think EST is an 'Easy and Simple Test'? If your answer is 'yes', think again!

Why EST is a curse rather than a blessing for some top students? After thinking carefully, I come out a list of possible reasons.
  • Most SPM candidates especially the intelligent students thought EST was just another easy test paper. Thus, they didn't spend enough time to master EST completely.

  • The scientific writing question (in Paper 1) was expected to come out like in 2004 SPM, which asked the candidate to write a report choosing the best method among all three methods given. However, the essay question format in 2005 SPM was totally different from the previous year. Candidate had to write an essay on the formation and the consequences of acid rain based on the points given. Unlike the previous year, no other choice was given!

  • There are very few reference books or resources on this new subject (first introduced in form 4 in year 2003). For those who might not know, SPM students don't have EST textbooks! I have asked my EST teacher about this and she told me that EST will be completely removed from the SPM subject list in the next few years. So, our government doesn't want to spend money publishing textbooks for this subject. Unbelievable? Try to believe it!

I have 'survived' from EST (luckily I didn't get a 3B or the lower grade in this subject!). Here are my tips to score 1A in EST. (Yes, I scored 1A in EST)
  • I still remember that in the past, I studied EST in class by trying the previous year SPM EST papers and other states' EST papers.

  • I didn't buy any reference books for EST since some of them are out-dated. Of course, you can buy exercise books for EST but please make sure the model papers follow the latest format.

  • Pay attention to all your EST lessons in class. Keep in mind that your EST teacher is the most reliable source for this subject.

  • Attend tuition class. Yes, I know it is very rare and weird to attend EST tuition class. Last year, I attended a one-month-four-class EST tuition class a month before the SPM trial examinations. For me, paying RM40.00 to master EST from the actual EST paper marker is worthy.

  • Online EST Resources: Good English Essays, ReCom Forum, Forum Portal Pendidikan Utusan...

Please leave your comment on this post if you have some nice tips to share or know any good resources for SPM English for Science and Technology (EST).

Update: I learned that our goverment has finally made EST a permanent SPM subject. So, I think students will have EST textbooks in the near future.


► Read more on SPM EST - How to Score EST? (Part 2 of 2)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

SPM EST – an Easy & Simple Test? (Part 1 of 2)

Posted by Chong

I came across a very funny post on a Malaysian famous teen blogger’s blog. What does EST stand for? Easy & Simple Test, Extremely Simple Test or Easy Short Test? None of these funny and creative answers is correct. Actually, EST is an abbreviation for… (drum-roll please)… English for Science and Technology.

Before I write a post on How to Score SPM English for Science and Technology (EST), I think it is crucial for you as the reader to know the past and present situation where a small number of SPM top students miss 1A in EST.
Taiping’s Chong Huey Ee of SMK (P) Treacher Methodist, who took 16 subjects, missed out on the possibility of being the country’s top scorer when she obtained 15 1As but got a 2A in English for Science and Technology.

“Although I am disappointed that I did not score straight 1As, I can be proud that I scored 1As for the subjects I studied on my own – Science, Geography, Commerce, Principles of Accounting, Economics and Tasawwur Islam,” she said
- The Star, 14 March 2006

Firstly, I would like to congratulate Chong for scoring such an envious result in SPM 2005. All her family members, teachers and friends would surely be proud of her. No doubt she had really done a very good job.

Okay, enough of compliment, let me raise a complicated question: She could score 1As in all the SPM subjects that she studied on her own (as mentioned in the excerpt above) but why not in SPM EST which she learned it in class since form four? Keep in mind that she scored 1A in Tasawwur Islam, a very hard-to-score or to be accurate, a very hard-to-pass subject for most Chinese candidates.

For 2004 SPM, I noticed that quite a number of intelligent students in my school got only a 2A in EST. For 2005 SPM, the situation is getting worse! A total of 3 students in my school got As in all subjects except EST. Why?

If you are scratching your head, thinking the answer to my question, please stop doing so or you will lose all your hair! I suggest you read Part 2 to find out more about this situation. In Part 2, I shall write in detail on the reasons top scorers missed 1A in EST and the tips to score 1A in SPM EST.


► Read more on SPM EST – an Easy & Simple Test? (Part 1 of 2)

Friday, April 07, 2006

JPA Scholarship Interview - My Experience

Posted by Chong

It was 7:45 am as I arrived at Politeknik Sultan Haji Ahmad Syah (POLISAS), Kuantan yesterday. Luckily, I didn't get lost in this big institute. I went to the hall (Dewan Besar) and waited near the entrance. At 8.00 am, we signed our attendance and went into the hall. There were tables and chairs arranged in rows. We sat and listened carefully to the representative's instruction.

At 8.15 am, we started answering the psychology test. The test paper consisted of 294 questions and the time given was about 45 minutes. Some of the questions include:
1. Saya minat memasang/membina sesuatu peralatan. A Ya B Tidak
2. Saya suka menolong orang yang berada dalam kesusahan. A Ya B Tidak
3. Saya suka bekerja di luar pejabat. A Ya B Tidak
4. Saya dapat memimpin dengan baiknya. A Ya B Tidak
5. Kesihatan dan kekuatan badan adalah sangat penting bagi saya. A Ya B Tidak
...

After that, we went to the library. We were divided into a group of 8 to 10 students. My group consisted of 8 students. All of them were total strangers to me. We arranged our original and photocopy of the certificates and documents according to the instruction while waiting for our turn. When it was my group's turn, we walked into a discussion room inside the library. Luckily we had time to know each others while waiting outside the room.

In the room, there were two friendly interviewers. First, we had to introduce ourselves in Bahasa Melayu. After that, we started a group discussion on the topic 'Unemployment among Local Graduates'. We were given 5 minutes (3 minutes actually) to prepare some notes on the topic. Then, one of the interviewers asked who of us wanted to start the discussion. I took the initiative and voiced out my points and the discussion began. We had shaken both of the interviewers’ hands before we left the room.

I know I will fail in this interview because my English speaking is terribly poor. I know I made a lot of grammatical mistakes when I spoke. Four other students in my group could speak English fluently while the rest same as me. I will not make any complaint even if I fail since I agree others are better than me. Thanks to JPA!


► Read more on JPA Scholarship Interview - My Experience

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